Bleak House: Harold Skimpole [ENTP 7w6]

Functional Order: Ne-Ti-Fe-Si

Perceiving Functional Axis:

Extroverted Intuition (Ne) / Introverted Sensing (Si)

Skimpole is a very clever man who has made a living off other people, through using words to avoid commitment and responsibility. He has a quick ability to assess things and use them to his advantage—finding out they are holding Jo, accepting a bribe from Tulkinghorn, and turning the boy over to him. Convincing Richard Carstone to invest more heavily in the Jarndyce and Jarndyce case at court, after being bribed by a corrupt lawyer, and then keeping him sunk up to his eyeballs in debt. When his own creditors come knocking, Skimpole has a variety of excuses about why they cannot hold him responsible, although it all boils down to his one long-term excuse (“I’m just a child, really, with no understanding of these things”). On the contrary, he has a very good understanding of how to read and use people—and very little interest in a tangible life beyond his delight in simple pleasures (he has not provided for his wife and “half a dozen or more” children). He concludes that “An appeal to my good friend Jarndyce rarely goes amiss,” inferring that he has become used to relying on him to keep him out of debtor’s prison.

Judging Functional Axis:

Introverted Thinking (Ti) / Extroverted Feeling (Fe)

He is a competent medical doctor, though he never practiced (why bother when you can live off others?). He can argue his way around all manner of things, and points out the logical but paranoid repercussions of things (keeping a sick boy around the house could endanger all their health; it winds up giving Esther smallpox). He has no moral center, and no ethics – using people to further his own agenda and becoming uncomfortable when Esther senses the truth of him and challenges him on it. Skimpole uses Fe only to manipulate and persuade, playing up his weakness and intolerance for life, assuring people of his prolonged stupidity and adolescence, and begging them to keep him out of debtor’s prison. But when these vapid attempts fail to solicit the desired outcome of sympathy and protection, he usually flees the scene.

Enneagram: 7w6 self-preservation

Skimpole is the absolute worst of 7 – an immature man who refuses to take any responsibility for his actions, who wants to live a life of pleasure unencumbered by such things as the consequences of his actions, a man who has abandoned his family to poverty while he floats around between friends and wines, dines, and enjoys pleasures at their expense. He pursues whatever he wants, at great cost to Rick—making him bankrupt and sick because he has found someone to “leech off of.” He tries to laugh off his irresponsible nature and/or downplay it, his 6 wing coming in to be self-deprecating and funny to cover up his actually malicious and wicked nature. Skimpole is also something of a coward—fleeing the house when Esther gets sick, advocating for them abandoning the boy to his fate, and even selling him out to Tulkinghorn. When Esther accuses him of wrongdoing and no longer finds him entertaining, he escapes into the night.